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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Ah, the bye-week blues. Nothing but golf courses and hours on the consoles playing Black Ops or Fortnite.

Not here at alligatorSports, though. Our writers will be slaving away watching 12 uninterrupted hours of college football. Do you think we do it for our amusement?
Heck no! We do it for you, the fans, because you deserve it.

This week, we have Gus Malzahn coaching for his job/a $38 million buyout, a UCF team searching for relevance and a suddenly high-and-mighty Tennessee squad looking to keep it within the four-touchdown margin against Alabama at home.

Before we meet our competitors, online editor Mark Stine and editor Morgan McMullen will debate the highly anticipated slobberknocker between Old Dominion and Western Kentucky.

Old Dominion (+5) will win because…

It beat Virginia Tech! Who cares if the Big Blue lost to Liberty by 42, or Marshall by 22. They beat the Hokies in front of a 20,532-person home environment.
Old Dominion has quarterback Blake LaRussa, who amassed 495 yards and four touchdowns through the air against Virginia Tech. The junior has been in a groove since, passing for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns over the next three contests.

LaRussa’s best targets, seniors Jonathan Duhart and Travis Fulgham, average over 15 yards per reception each and hauled in 10 combined touchdowns this year. Running back Kesean Strong is also a reliable check down, averaging nine yards per catch and just over two receptions per contest.

Western Kentucky is looking for its first home win, while Old Dominion is trying to find its first road victim. I’ll take the Big Blue. They’ve surprised odds makers once this year, and they’ll do it again.

-Mark S.

Western Kentucky (-5) will win because…

You ever meet the WKU Hilltopper? I have. It’s intimidating, yet caring. It’s fearsome, yet loving. It also doesn’t have a gender, so don’t attach your labels to them, please.

Superior mascot aside, WKU has superior players. Sophomore quarterback Steven Duncan led a fourth-quarter comeback against Ball State with not one, but two late scoring drives. Duncan hasn’t even played that much this season, lending credence to the WKU coaching staff’s brilliance in sitting their star QB until he was absolutely needed.  

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Duncan is completing a staggering 65.7 percent of his passes. Old Dominion isn’t going to have a ton of film on him, making its job on defense that much harder.

Duncan alone should give the Hilltoppers the boost they need to take down a team with one single win on the season. Quit resting on your laurels, Old Dominion, and do something against Liberty. Lord knows history repeats itself, so I guess the Monarchs couldn’t do much against Liberty. Book the same result against WKU.

-Morgan

Now onto the picks…

Once again in first place at 31-25 is alligatorSports football writer Alanis “I Hate Country Music” Thames, who went to Nashville, the country music capital, with a pure hatred for “southern music.” It’s okay, Alanis. We all have our terrible hot takes sometimes. But we’re 99 percent sure you were out there learning how to line dance at some point during the night, rocking out to that music you claim to hate.

AU

UCF

Utah

Mizzou

UK

Tenn

Ore

WKU

In a five-way tie for second at 28-28 is the Gainesville Sun’s Graham “Transcription Machine” Hall, who wound up transcribing coach Dan Mullen’s 30ish-minute-long postgame press conference after the Vanderbilt game. Wanna get out of that next time? Drive up like the rest of us. We’re sure there’s some spare room in the trunk of the alligatorSports car.

Auburn

UCF

Utah

Mizzou

Vandy

Alabama

Oregon

Old Dominion

With Hall is alligatorSports online editor Mark “Triangles Are People Too” Stine, who made some interesting assumptions with the Heider-Simmel experiment. Some folks say they’re just shapes running around. Not Mark Stine. “They’re jealous lovers!” he’ll shout to the amusement of nobody. Go look up the Heider-Simmel experiment on YouTube and prove him wrong!

Auburn

UCF

Southern Cal

Memphis

Kentucky

Tennessee

Wash St.

Old DominionAlso at 28-28 is alligatorSports assistant editor Jake “Go for Two” Dreilinger, who doesn’t believe in kicking in Madden. Under no circumstances will Jake kick the extra point, and even on first-and-goal from the opponent’s two he won’t run the ball, which cost him when he threw an interception. First, you’re a Jets fan, now the questionable Madden strategies, Jake. We’re really beginning to question who you are as a football fan at the alligatorSports desk.

Ole Miss

UCF

USC

Memphis

Kentucky

Alabama

Oregon

ODU

Alongside those three is GatorCountry’s Nick “I’m going to get hammered” de la Torre, who reminded all of us in the press box roughly 30 times about how trashed he would be getting on Broadway Street after the game. Hey Nick, we all know you want to relive your college experiences from 20 years ago, but relax. You’re starting to sound like a college freshman about to attend his first frat party.

AU

UCF

USC 

MEM

UK

BAMA

ORE

OD 

Finally, in a tie for second is the AP’s Mark “Bye Week, My Week” Long, who despite always blasting Graham Hall about not showing up to Florida head coach Dan Mullen’s Monday pressers, failed to make an appearance at the Gators only media availability of the week. There’s precedence with Hall, but that doesn’t mean the standards are any less for you, Mark.

Ole Miss

East Carolina

USC

Memphis

Kentucky

Tennessee

Wash State

ODU

Alone in seventh at 27-29 is the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar “They’re Mad at You, But I’m Not” Thompson, who proceeded to paint the alligatorSports crew in a bad light in Nashville when he convinced total strangers that we hated them. To be fair, we did. But they didn’t need to know that! What happened to solidarity? Next time, just hop in the car and start yelling at them like the rest of us.

AU 

UCF 

USC

MEM 

UK 

BAMA 

ORE 

WKU

Fittingly in last at 26-30 is alligatorSports editor Morgan “Makes Your Ears Bleed” McMullen, who put on a wonderful rendition of “A Thousand Miles” that involved an AC/DC mashup. We understand, Morgan, it technically worked. But working doesn’t mean it’s good. It quite possibly is one of the worst songs in existence.

Ole Miss

East Carolina

Utah

Mizzou

Kentucky

Tennessee

WASU

WKU 

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